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The Texas Psychological Association is the professional organization for psychologists in the state. Founded in 1947, TPA’s mission is to represent and enhance the profession of psychology in Texas, while promoting human health and welfare through education, science, and practice.

Purpose

To advance psychology as a science, profession and as a means of promoting human welfare by the encouragement of psychology in all its branches in the broadest and most liberal manner; by the promotion of research in psychology and the improvement of research methods and conditions; by the improvement of the qualifications and usefulness of psychologists through high standards of professional ethics, conduct, education, training and achievement; by the increase and diffusion of psychological knowledge through meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions and publications; thereby to advance scientific interest and inquiry, and to foster the application of psychology in the promotion of the public welfare.

 

Activities

TPA represents psychologists at the legislative level and is the voice of psychology and at the state Capitol. TPA monitors all state bills during each legislative session.
 
TPA fights for bills that positively affect the practice of psychology and against those that might hinder the profession or negatively impact the delivery of mental health services.
 
TPA is the only association in the state that fights to maintain the doctoral standard for the profession of psychology.

TPA enhances the profession of psychology by delivering high-quality professional development opportunities to psychologists at workshops and online course throughout the year, as well as at its annual convention each November. 

TPA enhances the profession by connecting psychologists with resources, services, and networking opportunities. 

History

The Texas Psychological Association was founded on September 28, 1947, when its first slate of officers met. A constitution was drafted and adopted by the membership at the first annual meeting in February 1948. The TPA's declared purpose is to advance psychology as a science and as a means of promoting human welfare. Soon after its inception the TPA became a state affiliate of the American Psychological Association; hence its membership requirements reflect those of the national organization. Membership includes all specialties of psychology, though since the mid-1960s clinical and counseling psychology has had the strongest representation in the organization. Full members must have a doctoral degree in psychology, and associate memberships are available for those with master's degrees in the profession. Psychology students may join as nonvoting affiliates. The TPA has divisions focusing on various aspects of the discipline, including applied psychology, school psychology, and trainers of psychologists. A fourth division exists for the organization's associate members. Funding for the association comes from members' dues. In December 1964 the TPA was incorporated. It is governed by an elected executive committee. The sixty original members of the TPA were interested in sharing scientific information through scholarly research and presentations at annual association meetings. By the early 1960s the emphasis was shifting to such professional practice aspects of the discipline as licensure, education of practitioners, and applications of psychological knowledge in direct human services. This shift was reflected in the election of officials: the experimental psychologists from university faculties who dominated the first decade of TPA's history were replaced by practicing psychologists with backgrounds in mental-health clinics or private practice. By 1976 TPA made the decision to offer affiliation to local area societies for closer communication. When membership reached 2,000 in 1987, an executive director was hired, and the association rented office space in Austin. Membership in 1993 was 2,375. As its membership and staff expanded, TPA's influence with the legislature improved. In 1969 the legislative committee, under the leadership of Larry Smith of San Antonio, accomplished passage of a statewide certification and licensing law for the profession, the Psychologist's Certification and Licensing Act. The law, which established a six-member Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, took effect the following year and is still considered by most members as one of the TPA's most significant achievements. As a state agency the board operates completely independently of TPA, although substantial communication occurs between the two groups and many TPA officers have become board members. TPA sponsors educational meetings and workshops, a journal called Texas Psychologist, newsletters, and reports to the local area societies. Committees and task forces coordinated by the officers cover such areas as continuing education, public information, ethics, professional standards review, insurance, state agencies and organizations, and legislation. In the 1990s the association met annually in November, and the divisions often held annual meetings and workshops. Meetings rotate through the major cities in Texas.

Citation: Emily G. Sutter, "TEXAS PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/sat06), accessed April 26, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

 
 
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